Steel Building Construction Process
As with any building project, purchasing and erecting a steel building takes planning. As a rule, the better planned a project is, the more successful it will be. Let’s take an overall look at the process of installing a PEB on your property. Here we will highlight the various steps involved—from conception to completion.
This “bird’s-eye-view” of the project will enable you to plan confidently, carry out efficiently, and enjoy immensely your wise investment. here is an overview of the steel building construction process – be sure to read the remainder of the buyers guide as well.
New buildings always begin with an idea. If you are reading this, you undoubtedly have a need or a desire that a steel building may be able to fill. Put your thoughts down on paper. For many, this will be the first “sketch on a napkin.” Consider such things as: What will the building be used for? How big will it need to be? Where should the doors and windows be placed? It might be good to sketch out your ideas on a piece of paper that can be used initially when consulting with the engineer who will eventually produce architectural drawings. You will also need to establish a budget.
Once the basic concept has been created, a number of choices and decisions need to be made. What style of building do I want? Where on my property should the building be erected? What kinds of accessories and finishes would I like to have? This part can be very enjoyable, so don’t rush through it. Changes and adjustments can always be made at a later time when you consult with the engineer and as you work through the project. You will also need to decide if you are going to have all the work done by an erector and a general contractor or if you should plan on doing some of it yourself, such as the erection.
For a more in-depth look at your options, see the topics What Kind of Planning Needs To Be Done? and What Kind of Building Styles & Designs Are Available? further on in this guide.
After the location and design decisions have been made, it’s time to have your dream put into a graphic design format. Now you will need to choose a steel building manufacturer with whom you will work to flesh out the project. This Buyers Guide can be used to locate a number of specialists in your area that you can consult with. For a quick quote, click here. To get into contact with the available manufacturers in your area who can give you a more customized estimate for your project, click here. From your consultations, you may choose one to purchase your PEB from. He may also offer installation services.
All of the manufacturers with whom you talk have engineers on staff. They will take your ideas and sketches and design your building. Because they will be using pre-engineered components, your overall costs will be reduced, but you will nonetheless have a building that has been customized for your specific needs. The design that is produced will be in compliance with your local building code as well as load requirements for your region.
Once you feel that you have found the manufacturer you want to work with and the design has been approved by the local code authority, but before any work begins (including the engineering), it will be time to place an order and put down a deposit. After drawings have been made, they may send you plans and erection diagrams. These will allow you to prepare the construction site ahead of time. The manufacturer may also offer to send you the appropriate anchor bolts which will secure the building to its foundation. You will use these in laying and preparing the foundation while your building is being manufactured.
While you are preparing the site for installation, the manufacturer will be busy filling your order, fabricating the components as needed or pulling them from their inventory. If you have not done so already, you will need to hire an erector and a general contractor during this process unless you are going to be doing that work yourself. When the building components are delivered, the site should already be prepared for erection.
The purchase of a steel building typically does not include site preparation unless you are buying from a merchant who also provides that service. So, while your building is being manufactured, you will be busy getting the site ready for erection. This could include surveying, excavation, tree removal, and grading. The manufacturer will provide details on type and size of the foundation on which the building will sit. Foundations are typically poured concrete, but other types may also be used depending on the location, climate, and intended use. Please see the page What Kind of Building Styles Are Available? for details on foundation types and other options. You will also be able to get help from the erector to determine what needs to be done to get the site prepared.
It is important to coordinate delivery with your erection contractor. You are responsible for receipt of your order, but the contractor will need to be present to verify that everything has arrived that you are getting billed for. Shortages or damaged materials must be noted by the carrier; otherwise, the supplier will not be held responsible. If construction is not taking place immediately, building materials must be adequately covered and protected. Please see the page Delivery Day for more detailed information on what to expect.
If you have hired an erection contractor, you may sit back and watch your building take shape. You will, however, need to be available for consultation should any questions arise. General erection consists of the setting of columns, the installation of purlins and girts (ribs), and the attachment of the roof and wall sheeting. Be sure to have everything that the erector has agreed to do in writing in the contract documents so that there is no confusion as to the erector’s responsibilities.
If you are going to be assembling the building yourself, it is imperative that you follow the highly-detailed assembly instructions to the letter. That includes all safety instructions. As with any construction project, improper handling or unapproved building techniques can lead to serious injury or even death. Doing it right, on the other hand, will result in lower overall costs and the long-term enjoyment of your new steel building. We recommend that you visit our Assembly Tips page which provides some helpful hints for a safe and cost-efficient construction of the project.
When the erection is complete, you will have a hollow metal shell—a skeleton, if you will. Now it’s time to put some meat on the bones—“building out,” as it is called. Either you or your contractor will add insulation; rough in plumbing, electrical and HVAC; install doors, windows, and possibly skylights; and construct interior walls and ceilings.
Putting on the interior and exterior finishing touches rivals ground-breaking in sheer excitement! Inside you will see flooring being laid, walls and ceilings getting painted, and plumbing and lighting fixtures being installed. The exterior will get gutters and downspouts, window and door trim, steps or decking, and whatever kind of wall finish you’ve decided on—from paint to masonry. Your building is almost done!
For a list of many of the finishing possibilities, please see the page, What Kind of Building Options Are Available? further on in this guide.
Depending on your local municipality, your project may have had to pass inspections of various phases, such as plumbing and electrical, for construction to continue to progress. Upon completion, you must schedule a final inspection of the entire project with a local building inspector. He will typically then issue a Certificate of Occupancy, allowing you to “move in” and put the building to use. You will likely also do a walkthrough with your contractor to ensure the structure and finish is to your satisfaction. A “punch list” of minor corrections may be generated which the contractor will complete in a timely manner.
We hope this overview has given you a good idea of what you have to look forward to on your journey. Building, owning, and using a Pre-engineered Steel Building can be a very rewarding experience, not only in filling a possible need, but doing so in such a way as to bring you enjoyment and peace-of-mind for many years to come.